Darebin Council 'This Place' project

Phenomenal project run by the Darebin Council in Melbourne.

Ten artists were allocate ten locations in the municipality and had to do a creative response.

I got a public art sculpture called The Nest (it’s like a giant egg). I did an ‘Everything is Alive’ style interview with it.

Check out more here. You’ll note there’s a short summary video, and in the still that you click on, my face doing a weird expression. Why is that.

Interview with The Nest - Katherine Collette

Inspired by the Everything is Alive podcast.

 [MUSIC, soft]


 The Nest is a sculpture, living in the Darebin Parklands.  It’s creators are Gary Tippett and David Bell….  Welcome, The Nest. 

[Music louder]

[Music stops]

 Interviewer:               Could you describe yourself.   

The Nest:                   I’m four metres tall, made of recycled timber.  I’m round but I’m not a circle.  I guess you’d say I’m oval in shape, although I prefer the term elliptical.    

Interviewer:              You look like… an egg. 

 The Nest:                   Some people do say that.  I personally don’t like that description but yes, it has been suggested before.

Interviewer:              How long have you been here for.

The Nest:                   I’ve been here for seven years.  Before me, there was nothing. 

That’s probably one thing I would say…  I don’t want to brag but I have sort of solved that age-old question, about the chicken and egg.

Interviewer:              You’re saying the egg came first? 

The Nest:                   Do you see any giant chickens around here?

Look, it’s not a religious statement.  Don’t think that’s where I’m coming from because I’m not.  The bible is a flawed document.  It says, ‘On the sixth day, God created animals’.  I take issue with that.  In my view that’s incorrect.  It should be, ‘On the sixth day, God created eggs.’ 

It’s just a lot more plausible.  

If you think about, you’re on an ark maybe…  Having pairs of eggs is going to be a lot of easier…  They’re aren’t going to get in a fight or have an argument.  They’re not going to eat each other. 

Interviewer:               Interesting…  So…  You don’t think that birds, any kind of bird, existed in the park before you were created?

The Nest:                   No, and don’t get me started on birds. I don’t want to talk about birds.  I have no affinity with birds.  I find birds—I’m not saying all birds but a lot of the birds I come into contact with—are pretty unpleasant.  They peck at things, they make a lot of noise; they defecate everywhere…  Those things are offensive to me.  Bird watchers I’m okay with, there are quite a few of those around, but the birds themselves, no.  

Interviewer:               So if you’re an egg—

The Nest:                   Really?

Interviewer:               Okay, if we consider the parts of yourself that are egg-like…  Are you hollow?  Is there anything inside? 

 The Nest:                   That’s a good question.  You might look at me and think there’s nothing inside. But there is, and one day you’re going to find out what exactly is inside me because one day, I’m going to hatch. 

I think I’m going to hatch.

That was the original concept.  That the local people, the humans, would put things inside me and then fifty, maybe a hundred years later, I’d be opened up.   

Interview:                  Did that end up happening?  Did they put things inside you?

The Nest:                   I don’t know for sure because I wasn’t there but I think it did. 

I hope it did.

I like thinking of what went in and what will eventually come out.  

Interviewer:               What do you think went in? 

The Nest:                   I think someone probably put in a commemorate coin set.  That’s a very popular thing to do to mark an occasion.  Maybe also a newspaper?  You used to see a lot more of those; you don’t see them so much any more.  There are some positives to that.  We used to get a lot of newspapers left behind and they’d get flown around with the wind and create a lot of mess. 

I don’t like mess; I hate litter.  It’s a very sensitive issue around here.  Not something I’m keen to discuss.

But I guess if I had to pick something that was inside purely for myself then maybe arms?  I’d quite like if arms were in there.  In a perfect world the arms would be outward facing—you asking me what I wanted—and maybe also one of those little rectangles that all the humans have? 

If I had one of the rectangles then when a group came up I’d get them all to stand together away from me for once and I’d hold the rectangle up and I’d point it at them and I’d yell, SMILE. 

I hate being told to smile all the time. 

I get so sick of it. What, I’m just supposed to go about with a big grin on my face all the time? It’s pretty nonsensical.   

Interviewer:               How would you feel if there was nothing inside of you?  

The Nest:                   There has to be something inside, doesn’t there?  There can’t be nothing.  Even if it’s just air that’s still something. 

I would be disappointed if it was just air. 

But then I’d try and think how important air is.   The air around here is very good quality air too.  It wasn’t always but it is now. 

And I will always have the shell, my outer.   No one can take that away from me. 

Interview:                  Do you know anything about other ‘Big’ things?  

The Nest:                   I knew you were going to ask me that. 

 I have heard…  I know that there was a hey day of ‘big’ things, in the past.  In some ways it’s unfortunate that I wasn’t around for that.  I came along too late.  They still exist but they’re not as revered, maybe, as they once were? 

 I’d like to see the Big Banana.  That’s probably where I’d go if I could go anywhere.  I see bananas around here from time to time, so I have an idea what that would be like. 

 I’ve heard of the Big Prawn too but I’ve obviously never seen it, either.  I haven’t seen a prawn, full stop.  Someone mentioned there’s a big potato…  I’m aware of the big worm. I’ve seen smaller worms so I have a frame of reference for that. 

I guess in terms of ‘big’ things, the banana and the prawn would be the main ones I would see as my competition.  But in terms of in terms of size, I’m obviously lot bigger. 

Interviewer:               I would have thought the big pineapple would be bigger than you.  It’s pretty big.  The Nest:                   That’s what I’ve been trying to say.  The Nest is not just the egg --I’m referring to myself in third person, to make a point.  The Nest is art, so I can do that. 

Some people think the egg is the sculpture and the parkland’s separate but I disagree. It’s both, which means this whole place is a work of art, which means I’m the biggest ‘Big’ thing. 

 The Big Prawn is a lot smaller.  It’s not sitting in a river, is it? It’s not called The Big River or even The River?  The Big Banana’s not in a field, either.  It’s not called The Banana Plantation.  If it was then maybe we’d be in the same ballpark.  But it’s not, so.  

Interviewer:               If they’d had a ‘Big’ competition, would you have entered?   

The Nest:                   I think I would have won. 

People love touching me.  I don’t mind it; it’s the texture I know.  I don’t know if people want to touch the prawn.  Maybe they do, I’m just saying that I’m a lot smoother, more tactile.  I’m recycled too.  That’s important to point out, given the history. 

A lot of parks have difficult histories. This place was once—this is hard for me to admit—a tip.  Like, for rubbish?

Interviewer:       Does that bother you?  That you used to be a tip? 

The Nest:                   I try not to think about it too much.  It’s a part of life.  You deal with it and move on.  I’m an egg, if I don’t know about new beginnings then what do I know about?  Am I right?  Am I right?

Interviewer:       Do you think about the future? 

The Nest:                    Of course…  I worry about getting built over.  That’s my biggest fear. 

Really, there’s only thing can save you and that’s a set of overhead power lines.  Once you have those you know you’re not going anywhere.  Oh, they’re ugly, for sure.  But the humans love them.  Probably more than they love creeks or parks or works of art, if you think about it.  



Interviewer:               Sorry, we went a bit overtime.

The Nest:                   That’s okay. It’s fine.  I’m not going anywhere. 

I can’t actually go anywhere.